10 Best Movies About Gambling

The stakes are at their highest in the ten best movies about gambling. The thrill of the game, the joy of triumph, and the fear of consequence easily make these some of the most enjoyable films put on the big screen. Money and power are on the line when characters make tough choices, and whether you enjoy the methodology of playing the odds or the rush of going all-in, these are the best films to see for a look inside the world of gambling.

  1. "Rounders" (1998). John Dahl's film about the seedy lives of underground poker players became a cult hit in the gambling world.  With outstanding performances by its ensemble cast and a guest cameo by poker legend Johnny Chan, "Rounders" is easily one of the best gambling movies ever made.
  2. "The Gambler" (1974). James Caan's riveting performance as Axel Freed in this classic film shows the consequences of gambling addiction.  His actions lead to the corruption of his family life, his job, and every aspect of himself in Karel Reisz's powerful film.
  3. "Ocean's Eleven" (1960). The heist film that spawned a remake and multiple sequels featured Hollywood's Rat Pack and captivated audiences with its star power. The idea of robbing Las Vegas casinos has been overdone since then, but none can compare to Lewis Milestone's original classic.
  4. "Casino" (1995). Martin Scorsese's gripping crime drama about the mob and Mafia underworld behind Las Vegas casinos is based on a true story.  Even more compelling are the performances, as all eyes are on the screen for the wonderful portrayals by Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone.
  5. "The Hustler" (1961).  Robert Rossen's dramatic adaptation of Walter Tevis' novel tells the tale of a young pool shark's rise and fall.  Paul Newman's role as "Fast Eddie" Felson became synonymous with the billiards world in one of the best American gambling films.
  6. "The Color Of Money" (1986).  Scorsese's film adaptation of Walter Tevis' sequel to The Hustler starred Tom Cruise as Vincent, Eddie Felson's young protege in this classic gambling movie.  The film contained numerous cameos by world-renowned pool players, but the accolades belong to Newman, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor for reprising his role as "Fast Eddie."
  7. "Croupier" (1998).  Clive Owen stars as Jack Manfred, a writer-turned-croupier who gets pulled into the gambling world in Mike Hodges' drama film.  The film intertwines Jack's two professions with an inner monologue dictating his point of view in one of the most intriguing gambling films ever made.
  8. "Maverick" (1994).  Richard Donner's action-comedy set in the wild west stars Mel Gibson as Bret Maverick, a gambler with his eyes on a riverboat poker prize.  The film culminates in a number of miracle (fixed) hands in a five-card draw tournament that Maverick wins against all odds.
  9. "The Sting" (1973).  Named after the moment a confidence man finishes operating on a mark, The Sting is best known for its solid acting and playful soundtrack.  George Roy Hill's caper movie revolves around a couple of grifters whose plot to steal from the mob entertained and confounded audiences down to the last play.
  10. "The Cincinnati Kid" (1965).  Steve McQueen plays the titular role in Norman Jewison's film adaptation of the Richard Jessup novel.  "The Kid" takes a bad beat in the final poker hand, but the film comes out a winner as one of the best gambling films of all-time.
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